|Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing Likud members in Tel Aviv |
following the close of the polls. Sara Netanyahu, his wife, stands to his left.
The results not only defied pre-election polls which showed the Likud trailing Labor by approximately 3 mandates, but also exit polls published following the end of the elections. Those exit polls showed the Likud tied or ahead of Labor by a single mandate, with the Likud and it's natural allies able to form a government.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared victory, but Labor chairman Isaac Herzog did not yet rule out defeat.
The next morning Israel's woke up to an even greater Likud victory and Herzog conceded the election.
Following the close of the polls, Likud members streamed to Ganei HaTaruchah in Tel Aviv, where the Prime Minister gave his victory speech (below in Hebrew).
Against all odds:a great victory for the Likud. A major victory for the people of Israel!
— בנימין נתניהו (@netanyahu) March 17, 2015